The increasing number of private schools across the country and the continuing recruitment for public schools has pushed up the need for teachers in the UAE, said Ben Glickman, founder and managing director of Footprints Recruiting.
He estimated that there were “a couple of thousand positions to fill” across the country.
“The demand for teachers does remain strong in the United Arab Emirates,” he said.
To qualify for work in the Emirates, teachers must hold a certificate in teaching English to speakers of other languages, a teaching license in their home country and have at least two or three years of teaching experience, Mr. Glickman said.
“But, in particular, we’re seeing an increase in demand for teachers who have a science, maths or technology background,” he said.
Primary school teachers “are still the most in-demand”, said Eoin Bolger, business development manager for UAE-based teacher recruiting firm Teach and Explore, which helps to fill vacancies in private schools.
“Female science and maths teachers are always sought after and can be quite difficult to find,” Mr Bolger said. “Teachers with a masters relative to education generally will be picked up by schools first.”
The high cost of living, increased the price of petrol and utilities, and introduction of a new municipal fee for expatriates has done little to deter foreign teachers seeking work in the UAE, Mr. Bolger said.
“The UAE is still a very attractive destination for teachers to come to live and work,” he said. “Why wouldn’t it be? They are getting well paid, especially when you compare it with take-home pay in their home countries. They pay no tax, no rent, flights are paid for and they receive free medical insurance. It is a wonderful opportunity for anyone to gain valuable teaching experience they might not get in their home country, save money and travel.”
Private schoolteachers can expect to earn from Dh11,000 up to Dh17,000 a month, depending on their experience and qualifications, Mr Bolger said.
“We work with high-end schools that provide good pay and packages for our teachers,” he said. “In turn, the school expects that all our teachers have a degree or masters in education and at least two years fully qualified experience.”
Mr Glickman said a salary of about Dh120,000 a year, plus free housing, was fairly normal for private schoolteachers.
For public school jobs, the Abu Dhabi Education Council can pay between Dh12,000 and Dh20,400 a month, depending on experience and qualifications, plus housing, according to recruitment firms.
Despite the challenging economic climate for foreigners here, prospective candidates do not have much negotiating power, Mr. Glickman said.
“If you get an offer from Adec, the negotiating is either ‘take it or leave it’,” he said.
“The private schools, there is some leeway for negotiations, but not a tonne.
“Generally we will negotiate on behalf of our candidates because we don’t want them to mess up the offer.
“Sometimes they have unrealistic expectations.”